Water Networks Contribute to Enthalpy/Entropy Compensation in Protein–Ligand Binding

J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2013, 135, 41, 15579–15584

Authors: B. Breiten, M. R. Lockett, W. Sherman, S. Fujita, M. Al-Sayah, H. Lange, C. M. Bowers, A. Heroux, G. Krilov and G. M. Whitesides

The mechanism (or mechanisms) of enthalpy–entropy (H/S) compensation in protein–ligand binding remains controversial, and there are still no predictive models (theoretical or experimental) in which hypotheses of ligand binding can be readily tested. Here we describe a particularly well-defined system of protein and ligands—human carbonic anhydrase (HCA) and a series of benzothiazole sulfonamide ligands with different patterns of fluorination—that we use to define enthalpy/entropy (H/S) compensation in this system thermodynamically and structurally. The binding affinities of these ligands (with the exception of one ligand, in which the deviation is understood) to HCA are, despite differences in fluorination pattern, indistinguishable; they nonetheless reflect significant and compensating changes in enthalpy and entropy of binding. Analysis reveals that differences in the structure and thermodynamic properties of the waters surrounding the bound ligands are an important contributor to the observed H/S compensation. These results support the hypothesis that the molecules of water filling the active site of a protein, and surrounding the ligand, are as important as the contact interactions between the protein and the ligand for biomolecular recognition, and in determining the thermodynamics of binding.

Journal of the American Chemical Society